Course Marking at OKState

Kathy Essmiller

In response to student requests, the OSU Libraries have partnered with the Office of the Registrar to identify courses which do not require students to purchase commercial materials. The OpenOKState course marking process is modeled after the course marking structure implemented at Kansas State University. In consultation with the OSU Office of the Registrar, the process has been customized for use at OSU.

The immediate goal was to identify a way that the existing system could be used to clearly identify courses in the class schedule which do not have course materials costs associated with them. Once the process was drafted, it was presented to and approved by the instruction council. A pilot was implemented Spring 2022, and course marking opportunities were opened campus-wide for the Fall 2022 semester.

Project Stakeholders

The following stakeholders partner to administer course marking procedures. Institutions and departments will remain the same, with specific members updated as needed or when roles change.

The Panel

  • OSU OER Working Group
  • OSU Libraries
    • Coordinator of OpenOKState/OER (OER Librarian)
    • Director of Teaching and Learning, Research and Learning Services
    • Associate Dean for Research and Learning Services
    • Dean, University Libraries

Key Stakeholders

  • OSU Office of the Registrar
  • OSU Libraries Marketing and Communications

Key Dates and Timeline

Event Date
Fall course marking application cycle opens (to mark spring courses) Beginning the first Friday in August (for spring courses) course marking eligible courses can complete the course marking survey.
Fall course marking application cycle closes (for spring courses, will close at least one week before registrar publishes the class schedule) On the first Friday in September applications for the course marking will be reviewed; the registrar needs the data by week 5 of the Fall semester.
Spring course marking application cycle opens (fall and summer courses) On the first Friday of December fall and summer course marking eligible courses can complete the course marking survey.
Spring course marking application cycle closes (fall and summer courses) On the first Friday in February applications for course marking will be reviewed; the registrar needs the data by Week 5 of the Spring semester.

Public Presence on Library Website

The above information will be shared on the OSU Libraries’ OpenOKState web page. It will be updated after each review period and will be formatted as follows:

Instructors using zero additional cost resources have the option to apply for the course marking in the fall (for upcoming spring courses) and spring (for upcoming summer and fall courses). Applications will be reviewed once in the fall and once in the spring.

  • The fall cycle applications are due around the first week of September.
    • The next fall application cycle ends [DATE INSERTED HERE].
  • The spring cycle applications are due around the first week of February.
    • The next spring application cycle ends [DATE INSERTED HERE].

Remember: To continue receiving the course marking, each course must provide updated information regarding its eligible sections as part of the fall and spring application cycles. If updated information regarding the course is not provided, the course marking may be removed from the course catalog. Instructors can provide the information for reinstatement in the next application cycle.


The initial application for course marking application is administered via Mach forms and consists of the following questions:

  1. Instructor Name
  2. Instructor Title/Rank
  3. Department
  4. Instructor Email
  5. Course Name
  6. Course Number
  7. If the course has multiple sections, will the zero cost resources be used for all sections?
  8. If no, which sections will use the resource? (please list)
  9. Number of students who can be enrolled in the course
  10. What is the title of the resource(s) you will be using for the course?
  11. What is the format of the resource(s) you will be using for the course?
  12. Where is the resource(s) located? Please share the link. If your resource is not available online please upload a copy of the content (or specify that it will be instructor created content).
  13. What semester are you requesting that your course be eligible for the course marking?
  14. Upload syllabus (this can be a rough draft)

Instructors will receive reminders twice per year (once in February and once in September) to make sure that they re-submit their “Course Marking Eligible Course Data” for each subsequent semester. The due date (first Friday of September and first Friday of February) will be posted on the OSU Libraries OpenOKState and the OSU calendars.

Application for continuation of course marking is administered via communication with the OpenOKState coordinator or by again completing the course marking form.


The course marking application will be open year round with applications due for review cycles on the first Friday of September and the first Friday of February. The OpenOKState Coordinator will submit the data to the registrar no later than one full week prior to publication of the course schedule.

To facilitate review of applications, the OpenOKState Coordinator will take the data from the course marking survey forms and add it into the course marking application review template.

The OpenOKState Coordinator will share this data with the panel. At least two non-library faculty members and at least one library faculty member will evaluate each application and determine whether the courses are

  • eligible
  • ineligible
  • the panel needs more information

After deciding on the status of each application, the OpenOKState Coordinator will notify the applicants of these decisions and coordinate revised review as needed. When the review is complete (no later than one week before the course schedule is to be published) a list of accepted courses will be sent to the registrar with necessary data and to OSU student government.

Post-Review Procedures

Applications for the course marking have three different review decisions: they can be accepted, more information can be needed 9regarding copyright or reliance on library material which may be subject to cancellation) or denied. Decision emails are sent by the OpenOKState Coordinator. Sample emails for each are below:

Accepted for Course Marking

Good afternoon [NAME],

Congratulations! After reviewing your course marking application, the OpenOKState panel has recommended that [COURSE NAME] receive the course marking. Applicants will be invited to meet at the end of the academic year to compare experiences, share findings, and make recommendations concerning the program.

Students will see the [DESCRIBE MARKING GRAPHIC] for your course in the line schedule and [course catalog?]. This will let students know that your course does not require purchase of commercial resources. Students can find out more information about the course marking at [INSERT SITE HERE].

Please note that the eligibility for course marking is determined each semester. You will need to complete a short survey each semester indicating if the non-commercial resource(s) is still in use. The survey will be available for completion as part of the fall and spring application cycles, and will help coordinate the continued application of the course marking to your class(es). If the survey update is not completed, the next occurrence of the course will lose the marking.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. Again, congratulations, and thank you for your commitment to the OSU students and community.


Panel Member 1

Panel Member 2


More Information Needed

Good afternoon [NAME],

Thank you for completing the course marking application. The OpenOKState team wishes to support applying the course marking to [COURSE NAME], but we need a little more information

[Explain concern and possible remedies]

Thank you for working to reduce the financial burden on OSU students. I look forward to working with you.


[Coordinator, OpenOKState] on behalf of the Panel


Good afternoon [NAME],

Thank you for completing the course marking application. The OpenOKState team is unable to recommend application of the course marking to [COURSE NAME]. [Explain reasons for rejection and possible remedies].

We appreciate your time, and look forward to exploring ways to partner with you to reduce the financial burden on Oklahoma State University’s students in the future. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if we can provide any assistance.


[Open Educational Resources Coordinator] on behalf of the Panel

Eligible Course List to Registrar

The registrar team (see key stakeholders) will then be made aware of the new and recurring courses eligible for the course marking. The OpenOKState Coordinator will compile the information and email it to the registrar team using Subject: Fall/Spring 20XX New Course Marking Eligible Courses. The lists for both new and recurring course marking eligible courses will be separate within one email. The information will be sent at least one week before the course schedule is to be published, and will be in a table formatted as follows:

Course Title and Number CRN Instructor Name Instructor Email Terms Offered

Course Marking Management

In addition to identifying new course marking eligible courses, the courses that previously received the course marking will be periodically reviewed. Whether or not and when they are offered will be verified yearly. Every two years, syllabi to confirm the use of non-commercial resources need to be submitted by instructors.

Because the course marking is communicated to students, OSU Libraries OpenOKState will verify that courses receiving the course marking are continuing to use OER, library resources or other non-commercial resources available at no additional cost to students. Every two years (on a rotating basis) instructors receiving the course marking will submit syllabi for all of their marked courses for the panel to review. This review is looking for additional course material costs and any copyright concerns that could prevent use of the resource.

  • Even years: Arts and Sciences; Education and Human Sciences; Engineering, Architecture and Technology; Ferguson College of Agriculture; School of Global Studies and Partnerships
  • Odd years: Spears School of Business; The Honors College; University College; Center for Health Sciences; College of Veterinary Medicine; Graduate College

The OpenOKState will communicate with the faculty corresponding to these departments once per year in accordance with these groupings.

The syllabi will be verified by at least two reviewers (one library faculty member and one non library faculty member). The OpenOKState Coordinator designates “verified” or “unverified” dependent on these evaluations. An “unverified” will alert the submitter that more information is needed and comments from the review will be provided to them. Revision, resubmission, and re-evaluation can allow corrections to be made and a “verification” to be awarded.


The report should be written during the summer and/or in the early fall of the next fiscal year. It will be shared with the panel, library administration, and student government. It will be shared with others (ex: The Board of Trustees) as needed. The report will include

  • Executive Summary
    • will highlight important points including impact and potential student savings
    • appendix on the background, initiative overview, strategic goals, and definition of non-commercial resources
  • Funding Provided
    • brief overview of where funding came from (donations, accounts funded out of, account statuses)
  • FY Awards
    • overview of course marking and dates of cycles
    • Fall YYYY & Spring YYYY subsections
      • provide names of committee members, how many applications were received, how many applications were approved, whether any applicants withdrew
      • Provide detailed tables in an appendix including applicants’ names, departments, course names, course numbers, annual student enrollment, estimated annual student savings (one table per semester)
      • include final table with total number awards given, estimated annual number of students, and estimated annual savings based on past awards
      • award by college/department
    • Program and Outreach
      • Application information sessions
        • Include subsections about fall and spring semesters. Include events, dates, and times of events, attendance numbers, and any other pertinent information
      • Consultations
        • Include the number of consultations completed, by who, and the semesters when they were completed
    • Zero Cost Icon
      • Explain the course marking. Optionally, include context such as the distribution, goals of the course marking, and qualifications for the course marking in an appendix.
      • Provide a graph of the course marking to the departments and the initiative, including awards by college/department
    • Assessment
      • Student savings
    • Appendices (as needed)
    • Future Outlook
      • Include any future goals of the program and the outlook for the next FY

Education and Outreach

Once per year the OpenOKState coordinator will schedule a meeting (or conversation) of all project stakeholders to review procedures, outcomes, and discuss how to improve the program both in administration and practice.

Information Sessions

OpenOKState will hold at least one information session prior to each application cycle. Three months prior to the application deadline, the OER Coordinator will work to coordinate a date, time, and location for the information session.

Information covered at each session will include

  • reasons to shift to non-commercial resources
  •  how to locate, curate, modify and/or create non-commercial resources
  • availability of Library partnership for the development of non-commercial resources
  • how to access, complete, and submit the application
  • discussion of how and when the course marking is applied ot the course
  • reminder of deadlines and submission expectations

Website Maintenance

The OpenOKState web page will include the following annual updates

  • Fall/Spring course marking application cycle dates
  • Courses granted the course marking
  • Share and celebrate resources created and used by our campus community associated with courses carrying the course marking


  • Library generates, publicizes, distributes, collects, and evaluates information for courses eligible to be marked as ‘zero cost’ courses
  • Library compiles report identifying eligible courses including course number, semester offered, and instructor
  • Library sends the report to the registrar
  • Registrar does magic stuff
  • Library publicizes presence of course marking
  • Students enroll

Last update, Kathy Essmiller, 11/14/2022

OpenOKState Course Marking Procedures © 2021 by Kathy Essmiller is licensed under CC BY 4.0. It has been adapted for use from course marking procedures developed by Emily Finch.

Draft version in Google Docs



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Exploring Open Copyright © 2020 by Kathy Essmiller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book